How to Cook a Whole Suckling Pig

Written by kenneth coppens
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How to Cook a Whole Suckling Pig
Suckling pigs can be cooked in a roasting pan in your home oven. (the form for an oven image by Leonid Nyshko from

Suckling pigs generally weigh between 4.54 and 6.8 Kilogram, which makes one a perfect choice for a hog roast when you do not need for a fully grown pig. Even better, their small size makes it possible to cook them in a home oven, so large, expensive grills are unnecessary. Suckling pigs--much like turkeys and chickens--typically taste best when stuffed with vegetables and basted during the roasting process. Everybody has their own recipe for a suckling pig roast, but the general rules apply to most cooking methods.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Large container
  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Skillet
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • Salt
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme
  • Paper towel
  • Roasting pan
  • Embroidery needle
  • Cooking twine
  • Aluminium foil
  • Baster
  • Apple
  • Fresh watercress

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  1. 1

    Clean out the inside of the pig if necessary. If you bought the pig from a butcher or grocery store, it already should be cleaned.

  2. 2

    Put the pig in a large, plastic container. Fill the container with a solution of 1 part white vinegar to 10 parts water so the pig is entirely submerged. Let the pig soak for three hours.

  3. 3

    Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil to medium heat in a skillet 30 minutes before you remove the pig from the liquid. Add 1 chopped onion, 2 stalks of chopped celery and 2 chopped carrots to the olive oil. Let it cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the carrots become slightly caramelised.

  4. 4

    Add 1 tsp of fresh thyme and a pinch of salt to the skillet. Remove the skillet from the heat and let it cool down to room temperature.

  5. 5

    Remove the pig from the liquid after the 3-hour period and place it in a roasting pan. Flip the pig over on its back so that you have easy access to the inside of its body. Dry the inside of the pig with paper towels, and stuff it with the cooked vegetables.

  6. 6

    Preheat the oven to 232 degrees C.

  7. 7

    Poke holes up and down the sides of the pre-cut incision in the pig with a large embroidery needle. The holes should be in a similar pattern as holes for shoelaces on a shoe.

  8. 8

    Feed cooking twine through the holes on the pig as you would with a shoelace on a shoe. Pull the twine tight to make sure the pig is sealed, and tie the twine in a tight knot.

  9. 9

    Tie the pig's back legs together, and position them against the stomach. Tie the front legs together, and position them so they stick straight out in front of the pig's face.

  10. 10

    Flip the pig upside down in the roasting pan so it's sitting on its legs. Make sure the back legs are hidden beneath the pig and the front legs stick out in front of the face.

  11. 11

    Open the pig's mouth as far open as possible and stuff it with bunched-up aluminium foil. This will allow you to stick an apple in its mouth after it cooks. If desired, stuff the eye sockets with foil.

  12. 12

    Put the pig in the oven and let it cook for 30 minutes. Remove the pig after 30 minutes, reduce the oven heat to 176 degrees C and baste the pig with the juices from the bottom of the roasting pan.

  13. 13

    Put the pig back in the oven. Remove the pig every 20 minutes and baste it until thoroughly cooked, usually about 2 hours. The centre of either thigh should be 73.9 degrees C when cooked.

  14. 14

    Cover the pig with aluminium foil once it finishes cooking. Let the meat rest for 1 hour.

  15. 15

    Stuff the pig's mouth with an apple. If desired, wrap fresh watercress around its neck for a necklace.

Tips and warnings

  • If the pig is larger than the roasting pan, wrap aluminium foil around the sides of the pig to ensure the drippings stay in the pan.
  • Raw or undercooked pork can cause serious illness, so be certain the pig is cooked to at least 73.9 degrees C.

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